New Delhi, Feb 23: A dominant India continued their winning spree, outclassing China 4-0 to register their fourth consecutive victory in the men's competition of the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday.
Vice-captain VR Raghunath (12th minute, 28th) scored two goals, while Dharamvir Singh (39th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (43rd) sounded the board one each for the Indians.
By virtue of this win, India have consolidated their position at the top of the standings with 12 points from four games, ahead of second placed Ireland who are at nine points from as many matches.
The Indians will play third-placed Bangladesh in their last round-robin match on Sunday and a win will see them progress to the third round of HWL, a qualifying tournament for next year's World Cup to be held in Hague, The Netherlands.
Against 18th ranked China on Saturday, the Indians not only started the match as favourites but also lived up to the billing, dominating the share of exchanges for the entire 70 minutes.
The Chinese were no match for the 11th ranked Indians in terms of skill and filed play as the visitors struggled to get the ball to the other half of the field for most part of the game.
The occasions when China did manage to get inside the Indian D, their forwards lacked purpose and were easily stopped by an alert Indian defence.
From the onset, the Indians mounted continuous raids into the opposition half and got numerous scoring opportunities, but the Chinese had to thank their goalkeeper Xu Rui who denied the hosts on at least three occasions in the first 10 minutes.
But it didn't take India too long to drew the first blood as Raghunath converted the hosts' first penalty corner in the 12th minute.
Raghunath was once again in the thick of things when he scored India's second goal, a field effort, after a brilliant run down the left flank.
India could have scored another goal two minutes later but an unmarked Mandeep Singh shot over from top of the 'D' to go into the breather with a 2-0 lead.
The Indians continued in the same breathe after the change of ends and tripled their lead four minutes into the second half when Dharamvir scored from a close range following a fine one-two by SV Sunil and Mandeep.
Rupinder then converted India's second penalty corner in the 43rd minute to make it 4-0.
Thereafter, the Indians earned two more penalty corners, but wasted both.
The Chinese did manage to earn their lone penalty corner in the dying moments of the match, but to no avail.
India captain Sardar Singh was satisfied with his side's performance but refused to underestimate Bangladesh whom they face on Sunday.
"We are happy that we have moved closer towards qualifying for round three. We are in a good position but we are in no mood to take Bangladesh lightly. They have sprung a few surprises in the tournament," he said.